Earth Day was first envisioned as an opportunity “to shake up the political establishment,” in the words of Senator Gaylord Nelson, and draw national attention to environmental issues through teach-ins, demonstrations, and other advocacy efforts. It has since set a historical precedent of community advocacy driving momentum around monumental and foundational environmental legislation.
Fast forward 51 years, and the tradition of Earth Day remains very much alive, with the Biden Administration positioning the day as a key milestone in its climate agenda, with plans to convene 40 global leaders in a two-day virtual Summit. President Biden plans to use the historic day to unveil its 2030 emissions target, and among other key priorities, to showcase its equitable vision for climate action.
Earth Day has long raised national and international alarm bells, specifically around environmental justice issues. This year especially, however, leaders and activists should use the day to shine a light on the injustices that have been illuminated and exacerbated this past year and, in quintessential Earth Day fashion, push forward the historic legislation that the Biden administration has begun to roll out around environmental justice.
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Earth Day 2021 Is an Opportunity to Focus on Environmental Justice